Introducing Orlando Cast Member Amanda!

I was born and raised in Florida. I am the youngest of six children. My mother passed away when I was fourteen years old and I never met my father. When my mother passed away, I froze at fourteen. I went into survival mood and shut off my emotions. I didn't grow socially. I didn't trust people. I worked hard to protect myself. A lot of my writing is focused on my mother and anxiety and OCD. I used writing as a way to process my emotions and feelings. In addition to writing, I like to paint and do crafts. I am also an avid TV watcher. 

Amanda.Vocksjpg.jpg

Basically as far back as I can remember, I remember having anxiety and OCD. It has held me back from a lot. It's hard for me to make friends which as an adult I realize is most likely do to some social anxiety. I was a very shy and anxious kid. I tend to overthink basically everything including what people think of me in social situations which often leads me to be quiet. Afterwards I feel like I need to apologize for my quietness because I am concerned that people will interrupt it as rudeness or that I don't like them. Anxiety and OCD can be very difficult and at times debilitating. I think that's something that people don't understand. It's hard to constantly be afraid of germs and see every detail that makes something unclean and to have thoughts racing through your head on a loop. I was once told by a mental health professional that as a result of losing my mom, my mind has been in flight or fight mood since. It is draining and exhausting. 

I wanted to be a part of This Is My Brave because I think it's important to break the stigma associated with mental health. I created my own art performance series in Orlando called Welcome to Anxiety. I created it as a place for me to share my struggles with OCD and anxiety and to express my grief from losing my mom. I had a lot of emotions and feelings and I needed an outlet for them. After the first event I had such positive feedback that I continued it and opened it up to a larger community. I wanted it to be a place where people could tell their stories through all forms of art. It helped me heal and I wanted to create that opportunity for others. So, when I learned about This Is My Brave, I wanted to be a part of it because I needed motivation to keep my series going. I wanted to share my story and be a part of changing the stigma. 

I realized I needed to get back in counseling when one day I looked at my sister and she looked afraid. I had been crying for days and was having trouble getting out of bed. When she looked at me she looked so concerned. I realized I was putting a lot of responsibility and pressure on her and I knew it was time for me to take control of my mental health. I want to be strong and healthy and happy and those things make me want to be in control of my mental health. 

I hope the audience walks away from the show feeling like they don't have to be ashamed of their mental health and feeling empowered to support others. There's no point in feeling ashamed, all it does is hold you back from getting help and healing. It's so important that we treat others with respect and kindness. Different does not mean bad. 

Tickets are on sale NOW! Click the button below to order your tickets to meet Amanda and more brave storytellers. This is one mental health performance you won't want to miss!

Please share this post with friends and family in the Orlando, FL area. We're all affected by mental health and addiction issues, and the more we can support each other, the easier it will be for people to seek help. This Is My Brave is proof that Storytelling Saves Lives.